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SECT. which the queen defended with such imperious vio
lence, was contrived for the profit of four courtiers, - 1578. and was attended with the utter ruin of seven or
eight thousand of her industrious subjects."*
We are to return, however, to the progress which His first Sir Humphrey made, in carrying into effect his char
ter of colonisation. With the influence of his own cessful.
character, and the zealous efforts of his half-brother, Walter Raleigh, who, even in his early youth, displayed those splendid talents and that undaunted spirit, which create admiration and confidence. Sir Humphrey at first met with considerable encourage
But as the time of embarkation approached, some of his associates beginning to form particular projects of their own, inconsistent with his general scheme, and others totally failing in the performance of their engagements, his preparations were much thwarted and delayed. He, however, put to sea with such of his friends as had adhered to their promises, among whoin it is said, was his brother Walter Raleigh. The voyage proved unfortunate, and was attended with the loss of one of his best ships, and several of his most esteemed friends, Nor is it quite certain that he arrived, in the course of this voyage, at any part of America; but it is supposed, that he met with a severe encounter with the Spa. niards, and was on that account obliged to return.t
As Sir Humphrey's patent was to expire at the end of six years from the date thereof, unless he made some settlements under it, it soon became necessary for him to resume his schemes, or relin- SECT. quish them altogether. In the spring of the year 1583, he had again brought his design into some 1583. order; but to furnish the necessary expenses thereof, he was obliged to sell what estate he had, though he had great assistance from his friends, and several gentlemen of rank and fortune agreed to go with him in person. With this view a small squadron was fitted out, consisting of five ships and vessels of different burthens, among which was one called the Raleigh, of 200 tons, fitted out by his brother Walter Raleigh, though, it seems, he did not attend him in this second expedition. In all these vessels were shipped about two hundred and sixty men, among whom were shipwrights, masons, carpenters, smiths, miners, and refiners. To complete the equipment of this colony, some singular circumstances were thought necessary, and may be here mentioned in the words of the original account of the voyage, as it is in Hackluyt; " Besides, for solace of our people, and allurement of the savages, we were provi. ded of musike in good varietie; not omitting the least toyes, as morris dancers, hobby-horse, and May-like conceits, to delight the savage people, whom we intended to winne by all faire means possible. And to that end we were indifferently furnished of all pettie haberdasherie wares to barter with those simple people.”* The resolution of the proprietors was, that the fleet should begin its course northerly, and follow as directly as they could the trade-way to Newfoundland, from whence, after hav. ing refreshed and supplied themselves with all nea
15'3 His second voyage.
Hume's Hist, of England, ch. 40. † Harris's Voyages, Vol. 2. p. 201, Holmes's Annals, Vol. l.p. 113.
SECT. cessaries, their intent was to proceed into the south,
and not to pass by any river or bay, which in all 1583. that large tract of land should appear worth their
looking iuto. They likewise prescribed the orders to be observed in the voyage, and the course to be steered, which were delivered to the captains and masters of every ship in writing. On the 11th of June, 1583, the fleet sailed from Plymouth; but, on the thirteenth, their large ship, the Raleigh, under pretence that her captain and a great number of her men were suddenly taken ill of a contagious dis. ease, left the fleet and returned to Plymouth; some say, in great distress, but others that it was done with a design to ruin the expedition. Of this cir- : cumstance, Sir Humphrey, when he arrived in Newfoundland, wrote to one of his friends in England, with great resentment and asperity.* On the 30th of July they had sight of land in about 51° of north latitude. From thence they followed the coast to the south, till they came to the island Bacalaos. Contin. uing the same course southward, they came the same day, being the 3d of August, to the harbour of St. John. He found there several vessels, of different nations, to the amount of thirty-six sail, lying in the har. bour and fishing therein. They seemed at first disposed to refuse him an entrance into the harbour. But Sir Humphrey, after preparing to make good his passage by force of arms, first sent in his boat to inform the masters of those vessels, that he had a commission from the queen to take possession of these lands for the crown of England. They were satisfied, and submitted to the levying a tax of provi.
* See note (E) at the end of this volume.
. Takes posses.
sions from each ship, for supplying the wants of Sir SECT. Humphrey's small squadron.
On the fourth of August, Sir Humphrey, whom 1583. they called the general, and his company, was conducted on shore by the masters of the English fishing sion of vessels, and their owners or merchants, who were foundwith them. On the fifth, the general having caused a tent to be set up in view of all the ships in the harbour, to the number of between 30 and 40 sail, and being accompanied by all his captains, masters, gentlemen, and soldiers, summoned all the merchants and masters, both English and foreigners, to be present at his taking a formal and solemn possession of those territories. Being assembled, he caused his commis. sion, under the great seal of England, to be openly read before them, and to be interpreted to those who were strangers to the English tongue. By virtue of this commission, he declared that he took possession of the harbour of St. John, and two hundred leagues every way; invested her majesty with the title and dignity thereof, and having had (according to custom) a rod and turf of soil delivered to him, entered and took possession also for himself, his heirs, and assigns forever. He signified to those who were present, and through them to all men, that from thenceforward they should look upon those territories as appertaining to the queen of England, and himself, authorized, under her majesty, to possess and enjoy them, with power to ordain laws for the government thereof, agreeable (as near as conveniently could be) to the laws of England, under which all people coming thither for the future, either to inhabit or by way of traffic, should
SECT. submit and be governed. He then published three
laws for the government of the territory. By the 1524. first, public worship was established according to
the church of England; by the second, the attempting of anything prejudicial to her majesty's title, was declared treason, according to the laws of England; by the third, the uttering of words to the dishonour of her majesty, was to be punished with the loss of ears and the confiscation of property. To all this, the multitude then present, as well strangers as Englishmen, assented, it is said, by a general voice. The assembly was then dismissed, and not far from the same place a pillar of wood was erected, to which was infixed a plate of lead, with the arms of England engraven thereon. For the further establishment of this possession so taken, the general granted “in fee farme” several parcels of land lying by the water side, both in the harbour of St. John, and elsewhere, with a reservation of a certain rent and service unto Sir Humphrey Gilbert, his heirs, or assigns for ever.
Some writers have attributed all this solemnity to a high degree of vanity in the west country knight; and have ridiculed his pretences to improve the trade of the kingdom, and enlarge the queen's dominions by cutting a turf; in which, however, they injure this gentleman's memory extremely; for, the plain reason of Sir Humphrey's conduct throughout this affair, was his anxiety to give some effect to his grant, which was perpetual to him, and his heirs, in case he took possession of any countries within six as before mentioned, and otherwise it was void. There were now but a few months of this period to
He had sold his estate in England, and it